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4 Tips for Smart Shoppers

When you’re ready to purchase supplements, keep these tips in mind:

  • Look for evidence about how well the product works in scientific studies from credible publications. Search for such studies in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) PubMed database: You can also call the manufacturer and ask what published studies they have to back up their claims. It’s also a good idea to find out how they ensure the ingredients listed on the supplement label are actually in the bottle.
  • If a product claims it will “cure” a disease, is “all-natural,” or has a “money-back guarantee,” be on guard. Any supplement that sounds too good to be true likely is.
  • Choose brands labeled with the NSF International, US Pharmacopeia, or Consumer Lab seal. These verify that the product actually contains the ingredients that the label says it does, and that the product doesn’t have any potentially harmful ingredients.
  • Be wary of supplements made outside the United States. Many aren’t regulated, and some may have toxic ingredients.

3 Tips for Storing Vitamins

Supplements don’t last forever, and they need a little care to keep them working well. After you buy them:

  • Keep them in a dark, cool, dry place. Avoid bathrooms and other damp spots.
  • Make sure you keep them on a high shelf or in a locked cabinet, out of children’s reach.
  • Some vitamins and supplements wear out when they sit on the shelf for too long. Do a regular check of your stash and throw out any that are past their expiration date.

Finally, always let your doctor know about any vitamins or supplements you plan to take, especially if you have a health condition or are on regular medication. Not all products work well for everyone, and some can be dangerous.

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